Illegal logging laws explained for importers

Before you import timber and wood-based products into Australia, it is important you understand your responsibilities as an importer.

Your key responsibilities

If you are importing timber or wood-based products into Australia, the illegal logging laws affect you in two key ways:

You could face heavy fines, the forfeiture of your goods, and/or imprisonment if you import illegally logged timber or wood-based products into Australia. This means that if you know, or suspect, that your product contains illegally logged timber, you shouldn’t import it into Australia.

For regulated timber and wood-based products, you also need to actively manage the risk that the product contains illegally logged timber. This is called undertaking ‘due diligence’ and must be completed before importing the products into Australia. This obligation covers a range of regulated wood, pulp, paper, and furniture products.

Due diligence

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012 sets out the steps that must be undertaken to conduct due diligence on regulated timber products.

The central focus of the due diligence process is understanding the products you are importing and where they come from. This information should allow you to make more informed purchasing choices and minimise the risk that the product you are importing contains illegally logged timber.

In conducting your due diligence, the Regulation requires you to:

  • have a written system that sets out how you will carry out your due diligence checks
  • gather certain supporting information and evidence to inform your risk assessment
  • assess the risk that the product you are importing contains illegally logged timber
  • if necessary, undertake additional mitigating actions to minimise this risk
  • maintain suitable records.

For more information on the due diligence process, refer to the Guidance for Importers page.

Customs declaration– Community Protection Question

When importing a regulated timber product, you will also be required to make a declaration to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about your compliance with the due diligence requirements. This declaration is in the form of a Community Protection Question (CPQ) and must be completed as part of the import declaration process each time you import a regulated timber product.

The community protection question states:

“Has the importer complied with due diligence requirements of the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and associated regulations? (if the product is exempt or does not contain timber, answer yes)”.

If you have undertaken a suitable due diligence process and found that the product you are importing is low risk, you should answer yes. If your product is exempt from the regulations, or does not contain any timber or wood-based elements, you should answer ‘yes’.

You must answer truthfully. Providing a false or misleading declaration is a criminal offence.

Ensuring compliance with the laws

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for administering Australia’s illegal logging laws. Further information about how the department is ensuring compliance with the laws is on the Illegal Logging Compliance page.

More information

We are here to help you comply with Australia’s illegal logging laws. These webpages provide a range of resources and guidance to better understand your obligations under the laws.

You can also contact us for further information on how the laws operate and if they affect you:

  • phone during business hours on 1800 900 090 or if outside of Australia +61 2 6272 3933
  • email illegal logging
  • subscribe to the illegal logging mailing list to receive new information or guidance materials and details on upcoming information events.